Letters To Indicate Student Readiness for Advanced Placement Success
Michigan Department of Education Press Release LANSING – Nearly 90,000 letters are being mailed to Michigan parents with high school students to share that children have the potential to be successful in a rigorous Advanced Placement course and to earn college credit while in high school.
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is one of only two states partnering with the College Board to use the Advanced Placement (AP) Potential Tool that identifies students who are likely to score a 3 or higher on a given AP exam, based on the student’s performance on the Spring 2022 PSAT 8/9 or PSAT 10. Scoring a 3 or higher on an AP exam can qualify high school students to receive college credit while in high school.“Notifying parents and guardians prior to or during the sophomore year of students’ education helps to expand the number and percentage of students in rigorous coursework in high school, particularly those from historically underrepresented groups, including economically disadvantaged students,” explained State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “This opportunity also supports students in earning college credit, which can help change a student’s sense of capability and life direction and reduce the cost of college.” Dr. Rice is sending letters to the parents of 89,477 students in Michigan this week to inform parents and guardians that their children have the potential for success in an AP course. That more than doubles the 41,879 letters sent to households in 2022. The increase in numbers is attributed in large measure to students identified this year as likely to be successful in AP Art History and AP Seminar, the latter of which was included in the AP Potential Tool for the first time this year in Michigan. There are 38 AP courses offered by the College Board in seven subject categories and the number of Michigan public school students taking an AP course in 2023 increased by 8.9% compared to 7.6% nationally. Michigan had 56,885 public school students take an AP course in 2023, up from 52,247 in 2022 and 51,064 in 2021. The participation rate in AP courses for African American students in Michigan increased 28% compared to 11.5% nationally, and the numbers of African American students who scored a 3, 4, or 5 on their AP exams increased by 38% last year, compared to 17% nationally. The participation rate in AP courses for Hispanic students in Michigan increased by 18% compared to 12% nationally, and the numbers of Hispanic students who scored a 3, 4, or 5 on their AP exams increased by 21% compared to 14% nationally. The AP program enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. The program consists of college-level courses developed by the College Board’s AP Program that high schools can choose to offer, and corresponding exams that are administered once a year. The College Board administers the PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and SAT assessments and has developed the AP Potential tool to identify AP students and choose the AP courses that interest them. The AP Potential Tool is rooted in a long line of research showing that PSAT/NMSQT scores, and by extension SAT scores, predict performance on specific AP Exams—often with more accuracy than other traditionally used methods. Students may be recommended for and prove to be successful in AP courses without being identified as such with AP Potential, but the tool offers assistance to those seeking to provide guidance to students and families. Each AP course is modeled on a comparable introductory college course in the subject. Each course culminates in a standardized college-level assessment, or AP exam, given in May each year. “There are significant numbers of students who can succeed in AP without high PSAT scores,” Dr. Rice said. “PSAT scores are one way to predict success in advanced coursework. In addition, there are other rigorous academic paths available for students. We want our children to challenge themselves, with support from educators, and to reach for the highest level of education.” Additional opportunities for students who are prepared for college-level coursework include dual enrollment and Early Middle College (EMC) programs, many career and technical education courses and programs, or an International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP), if available. MDE’s letter to parents and guardians encourages students to consider these rigorous options, and school counselors are urged to share about these options in local school districts, as available, as well. MDE recognizes that not all Michigan high schools offer AP courses. If a school does not currently offer AP courses, school leaders can learn more about how to start an AP Program on the College Board’s website. Part of the process of starting an AP program is the use of the AP Potential Tool. Local school districts may also consider partnering with Michigan Virtual to offer AP courses. The use of the AP Potential tool by MDE aligns with Goal 4 of Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan—to expand secondary learning opportunities for all students, Goal 5—to increase the percentage of all students who graduate from high school, and Goal 6—to increase the percentage of adults with a postsecondary credential.